Honorary Consulate of Mongolia - New Zealand
About Mongolia

Memorial to Chinggis Khaan in Kharhorin, Mongolia.
The blue depicts Mongolia today and the gold shows
the extent of the great Khaan's empire

Mongolia – The Place              
Mongolia is a landlocked nation located in Northern Asia between the Russian Federation to the north and the Peoples Republic of China to the South.

At 1,564,116 m, Mongolia is the 19 largest and the most sparsely populated country in the world with a population of around 2.9 million people.  Much of the country is grassy steppe with mountains to the north and west and the Gobi desert to the south and much of the country is covered by discontinuous permafrost.

Mongolian rivers drain in three directions; north to the Arctic Ocean, east to the Pacific or into the deserts and the depressions of Inner Asia.  The countries major river system is that of the Selenge which flows across the Russian border and drains into Lake Baikal.  The longest river is the Orkhon at 1,124km.  Mongolia’s largest lake is Lake Hovsgol Nuur which is estimated to hold 2% of the world’s freshwater supply.

Mongolia is about 6 times the size of New Zealand and approximately the size of Alaska.  Mongolia has an average elevation of 1580 meters above sea level with the highest point (Khuiten Peak) being 4,374 metres and the lowest point being 560 metres.  The capital city, Ulaanbaatar (4755’N 10653’E), is at 1,351 metres.

Mongolia – Its History              
In 1206 a chieftain named Temujin succeeded in uniting all the Mongol tribes between Manchuria and the Altai Mountains.  Taking the title of Chinggis Khaan he waged a series of military campaigns sweeping through Asia to established the Mongol Empire stretching from the Pacific in the East to Poland in the West and all the lands north of the Himalayan Range and the Indus river to Siberia, (see Chinggis Khaan memorial picture above) forming the largest contiguous land empire in history equivalent to 22% of the earth’s total land area and a population of over 100 million people.

Temujin was born in approximately 1162 and died in 1227.

The enduring legacies of the Mongol Empire were its facilitation of vigorous cultural exchange, knowledge, people and technology between East and West over several centuries. The Mongol Khaans tolerated all religions and promoted the development of many art forms and innovations in many fields of endeavour including architecture, military strategy, science, philosophy, diplomacy, communications, commerce and public administration.

The lands that make up modern day Russia were conquered and ruled by the “Golden Horde” from 1237 to 1382 while the Mongol armies occupied northern China in 1234 thus establishing the Mongolian Yuan dynasty which prevailed until 1368 when the Ming dynasty was established following a peasant rebellion.

The pre-eminent Mongol ruler of China was Khubilai Khaan (grandson of Chinggis Khaan) who ruled from 1261 to 1294 and brought a period of great innovation and enlightenment opening up to foreign trade and promoting Chinese goods and culture.

Mongolia – The Present            
The introduction of Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika and glasnost strongly influenced the course of Mongolian history leading to a peaceful democratic revolution and the introduction of a multi-party system of government and the pursuit of a market economy.  A new democratic constitution was introduced in 1992.

The road to a functioning market economy has often been a rocky one and the early 90’s saw high inflation, high unemployment and food shortages.  Mongolia is a parliamentary republic.  The parliament is elected by the people and in turn parliament elects the government.  The president is elected directly.  The Constitution guarantees full freedom of expression, religion and movement of its citizens.

Mongolia has many political parties but the two largest parties are the Mongolian Peoples’ Revolutionary Party (MPRP) and the Democratic Party (DP).

Mongolia’s President has a largely symbolic role but can block Parliament’s decisions.  Parliament can overrule a Presidential veto by a two thirds majority.

The Mongolian economy is centred on agriculture, mining and tourism.  The country is rich in mineral resources with large deposits of copper, gold, coal, molybdenum, tin, tungsten, fluorspar, uranium and oil either in current production or at various development stages.

Mongolia – The Future             
Mongolia’s future if potentially very bright with its abundant mineral resources and its potential to be a significant net exporter of energy, particularly to the major neighbouring economies of China and Russia.

However the development of both mineral and energy resources are hugely capital and expertise intensive, much of which will have to be imported and so Mongolia will need to carefully and skilfully manage these huge developments to gain the optimal economic benefits while minimising the impact of

The climate is generally high, cold and dry but it is hot in the summer during which most precipitation falls and extremely cold in the winter with average
winter with January average temperatures of around -30C.  The capital city of Ulaanbaatar experiences the lowest average temperature of any national capital in the world.  The climate is a generally a stable continental climate with an average of 257 cloudless days per year.

The major language spoken is Khalkh Mongolian and a Cyrillic script is used in writing.

Mongolia is a mixed, unicameral parliamentary/presidential democracy with a 76 seat State Great Khural (parliament) with a 4 year term. The country has 21 Aimags (provinces) which are further divided into 343 Soums (districts) and smaller sub-districts known as Baags. Currency Mongolian currency is the Togrog (tughruk) MNT  In mid June 2009  MNT1427 = $US1.

International dialling country code:  +976

Internet TLD:  .mn
Economy GDP – Total $US5.258 billion (2008 estimate) GDP – Per Capita $US1,981


Ultimately, warfare between the Oirod Mongols of the west and Khalkh Mongols of the east, led to an extended and tumultuous split of the Mongols until 1552 when the Mongol Prince, Altan Khaan, reunited Mongolia. 

In 1644 the last Ming ruler, Ch’ung-Chen, was toppled by another Chinese peasant uprising and at the same time a nomadic tribe called Jurchen, later known as the Manchu, swept into northern China and seized the Chinese imperial throne claiming the Mongols “Mandate of Heaven” as their divine right to rule all China.  They adopted many of the traditions of the early Mongols presenting themselves as being related through several means, including marrying into Mongol royalty to gain legitimacy and prestige.
The Manchu, Qing dynasty of China (1644-1911), split Mongolia into Inner and Outer regions.

Outer Mongolia, under Bogd Khaan, declared independence from Manchu rule in 1911 and in 1921, with Russian assistance, expelled Chinese troops who were trying to reassert Chinese rule.

From 1924, after the death of Bogd Khaan, to 1990 Mongolia was known as the Mongolian Peoples’ Republic and was governed as a single-party Communist state, heavily influenced by the USSR.   During this Soviet style Communist period, Mongolia was largely inaccessible to visitors from the West and until the 1990’s Buddhist monasteries were mostly closed and there was no official recognition of Chinggis Khaan.

In 1990 Mongolia went through a peaceful transition to a democratic, multi-party system of government which exists today.  There has been resurgence in both Buddhism and the recognition of Chinggis Khaan as a source of  Mongolian nationhood and national pride.


There are known reserves of coal assessed at over 150 billion tonnes with the Tarvan Tolgoi deposit containing some of the highest quality coking coal deposit in the world.  The Oyu Tolgoi copper mine, which is under development, is expected to be the second largest copper mine in the world and will include a smelter. Mongolia has extensive resources for wind and solar power generation and has undeveloped hydro and geothermal power generation possibilities.

Tourism is a growth sector particularly during the spring, summer and autumn months – May to September.

Traditional pastoral agriculture continues with the production of meat, milk, hides and animal fibre such as the world renowned Mongolian cashmere. Grain crops are produced during the relatively short summer months and there is increasing production of vegetables.

Some of the concerning aspects of the present day Mongolian are high unemployment, high inflation and a strong drift to urbanisation.  With a total population estimated at 2.9 million people and about 1.2 million in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar this causes great strains on the urban environment, on basic services (housing, power, water, heat, pollution and transport) and infrastructure development with poor urban planning and, up until recently, rampant city expansion and daily traffic near gridlock.


exponential economic growth from environmental effects and the impacts of high cost.inflation and the erosion of traditional values, lifestyles and culture.

Tourism and Agriculture will continue to play significant roles in the future of Mongolia but these too will require increased investment in transport and services infrastructure.

Mongolia is an intensely proud, resilient, determined and independent nation – the strength and determination of Chinggis Khaan beats strongly in the heart of Mongolia


Useful Information Links

Mongolian Government Organisations 

The official website of the Mongolian Government Tourist Office 

Mongolian Business and Travel Links

A membership based NGO advocating for increased trade and investment in Mongolia 

MIAT Mongolian Airlines                             
The State owned international airline company 

A privately owned importer and distributor of frozen New Zealand food products

Link to a site about the Trans-Siberian and Trans Mongolian rail systems with timetable and trip planning facilities

General Information
General information about Mongolia including aspects of history, geography, climate, Government and politics, economy and culture
                             Mongolian Language  Basic Mongolian phrases from the Peace Corp Mongolia

Important Note:
While the Consulate is selective about organisations and companies that it provides links to, we provide these links purely as a service to you and we take no responsibility for the accuracy of information on those websites nor do we endorse any statements, products or services provided by these organisations and companies on these websites.